Boka Vanguard vessel transporting FPU Zafiro Producer; Source: Boskalis

Boskalis’ giant vessel wraps up its first decom gig by transporting FPU for recycling

Dutch offshore services giant Boskalis has revealed that its largest semi-submersible heavy transport vessel has completed its first 𝗱𝗲𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁, which enabled it to take a floating production unit (FPU) to a ship recycling facility.

Boka Vanguard vessel transporting FPU Zafiro Producer; Source: Boskalis

According to Boskalis, its Boka Vanguard vessel was recently part of “a major marine decommissioning project” for the first time, after its subsidiary, SMIT Salvage, secured and disconnected an FPU off the West African coast late last year. The vessel transported this FPU to Scandinavia where it was delivered to the Modern American Recycling Services (M.A.R.S.) Europe ship recycling yard in the Port of Frederikshavn.

Based on the photo accompanying Boskalis’ announcement, the FPU is Zafiro Producer, which worked on ExxonMobil’s Zafiro oil field in Equatorial Guinea. This field is located in the 500,000-acre Block B, 68 km (42 miles) WNW of Bioko island, adjacent to the international border with Nigeria. The U.S. oil major was forced to stop production at the Zafiro field in September 2022 after water entered the ageing FPU.

The Zafiro Producer is a converted 268,191 dwt VLCC (very large crude carrier). The tanker was built in 1973, with an overall length of 331.5 m, a breadth of 56 m and a depth of 26.4 m. It has a draught of 20.5 m fully loaded, or 8.3 m ballasted. The FPSO was installed in 1996 and later the storage capacity was taken over by the Serpentina changing the Zafiro Producer into the FPU.

“We thank the joint Boskalis and SMIT Salvage team for their efforts in this successful marine decommissioning and transport project,” said Boskalis.

The Dutch player claims that it is able to deploy its vessels for multiple purposes, just like the Boka Vanguard vessel has been used to transport the 322-by-48 meter cruise ship Carnival Vista as well as a newly built 385-by-60 meter fish farm. In addition, this vessel also recently transported six caissons with a total weight of more than 93,000 tons, which was its heaviest cargo ever.

The 2012-built Boka Vanguard is a semi-submersible vessel for heavy transport and offshore dry-docking built by Hyundai Heavy Industries. With a bow-less design, it has a deadweight of 116,175 dwt and total installed power of 28,500 kW. The vessel can carry its load at a max speed of 14 knots.

Boskalis is currently working on the FSO Safer, thanks to a contract secured with UNDP through SMIT Salvage to remove oil from this tanker. The company’s project scope consists of a number of phases with the initial onsite phase focusing on a thorough inspection of the vessel and its cargo and creating a safe working environment.

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Once the FSO Safer is declared clean and empty, it will be prepared for towing to a green scrapping yard under the responsibility of the UN.